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Campus Heath's tips on what to do if you're spending family weekend alone

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Jesus Barrera | The Daily Wildcat

The CAPS service, located on the third floor of the UA Campus Health building.

Family Weekend is coming up, and while it promises to be something to look forward to for many, for some it will only serve as a reminder that their family won’t be joining them for the festivities.

USA Today reported that the University of Arizona has the highest out-of-state student percentage among the three state schools, at around 30 percent. 

With such a high percentage of out-of-state students, Family Weekend can be problematic for students coming from elsewhere in the world. This, combined with already stress-inducing tuition rates — over 32 grand for out-of-state students — and a high prevalence of mental illness in university students, means that Family Weekend might be more of a downer for a lot of people.

“Part of the reason for this is that college falls into the age group that has the highest levels of depression and anxiety overall,” said Debra Cox-Howard, a mental health clinician for Campus Health, in an email. “College is an exciting time, but it can also be very challenging.”

For many students, Cox-Howard said, college marks the time when you have to start doing things for yourself. It becomes apparent that dishes, laundry and meals don’t get taken care of on their own.

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For pre-physiology freshman Marissa Meza, Family Weekend won’t come with the same fun as it will for many other students.

“With this being my first Family Weekend, it would have been nice to show my family around campus and to spend some time with them, but my sister goes to college in a different state and my mom couldn’t make it down,” Meza said.

Cox-Howard said that while it might seem gloomy, students shouldn’t let the lack of family on Family Weekend get them down.

“For some, they knew in advance, for example, that their parents would not be able to come,” Cox-Howard said. “For most, those without parents and family members will still participate in activities and many will do so with new-found friends that they have made here.”

There are many festivities that students can enjoy even without their family present. For example, Tucson Meet Yourself will be showcasing traditional arts from cultures native to Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico. It’s going on Friday through Sunday in downtown Tucson.

Furthermore, students in need of something to do this weekend should look into the UCLA-Arizona football game on Saturday night. The Bruins and Wildcats are long-time rivals, and as Family Weekend is sure to bring plenty of alumni to Tucson, the game promises to be lively.

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Finally, the Student Recreation Center will be allowing non-membership holders to use the facilities at the Rec when they are with a student, free of charge. So bring a friend to the gym who usually doesn’t get to go.

“Don’t isolate. Go to activities, participate,” Cox-Howard said. “Work out — this helps boost endorphins and lowers stress also.”

However, if you don’t find any of these helpful and the absence of your family this weekend is giving you the blues, don’t hesitate to reach out to Campus Health.

“CAPS, Counseling and Psych Services, offers brief therapy, assessment and referral,” Cox-Howard said. “We also have psychiatric services and groups. CAPS has walk-in triage hours, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.  to 4 p.m., where students can speak with a licensed professional, first-come, first-served basis for a nominal fee. During that time, services and resources that can be of benefit to the student are discussed.”

So whether your family is coming this weekend or not, it’s important for the student community and collective health community to be inclusive of those who will be missing their family.


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